The suit-clad, taxi-hailing set milled outside Trump International Hotel & Tower as usual Tuesday morning.
Some held Trump hotel coffee cups, but if they needed a morning jolt, they had only to glance across the street.
Among the 200 or so anti-Donald Trump protesters — almost all women — one wore a cloth-and-lace representation of a vagina around her neck. Another held up a huge neon placard with the same body part depicted.
Together, they chanted: “This p—y votes!” They were, the protesters said, taking back that body part from a presidential candidate who has proven himself to be “hateful and misogynistic.”
“Putting something like a vagina center stage really makes people think about the fact that this is something that people are trying to control and something that you can’t grab without permission,” said Eve Rydberg, 28, of Logan Square, wearing the cloth body part.
Rydberg was referring to the now infamous 2005 Access Hollywood recording in which Trump can be heard talking about grabbing women by the crotch. Trump later apologized for the remarks, calling them “locker room banter” and made during a private conversation.
Candace Gingrich, a Washington D.C.-based activist and the sister of former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich, said her dislike of Trump goes beyond simply his treatment of women.
“I’m fed up with Donald Trump and his anti-everything,” said Gingrich, who was among the protesters. “I’m offended as a human, I’m offended as a woman, I’m offended as a global citizen by the things he says and the things he proposes.”
A handful of Trump supporters stood across the street yelling at the protesters.
“Hillary Clinton founded ISIS!” shrieked a man who identified himself only as “Alex D.” “The truth hurts! The truth hurts! You are tiny little filthlings! I feel sorry for you!”
Jeff Castillo, a Washington state-based CEO in town for business, had just stepped out of the Trump hotel, when he caught sight of the protesters.
Castillo found the protest distasteful, saying he wouldn’t want his 17-year-old daughter to see the signs.
“Some of the chants and what they’re saying in those signs is just really disrespectful,” said Castillo, who described himself at a Libertarian. “I’m shocked to see these signs.”
The protest, which wrapped up after about 90 minutes, included only a handful of men — but not by design.
“Men are always invited to be supportive. I’m a straight woman. I date men,” said Alicia Swiz, one of the organizers. “The reason men don’t show up is they’re not quite sure how to participate yet. … I’m sure there is a little bit of embarrassment. Our culture is still embarrassed about vaginas, that’s why we’re de-stigmatizing the word.”